A hot car can be fatal for pets

The National Weather Association has declared May 25th as National Heat Awareness Day – established in an effort to bring attention to the dangers of extreme heat, the number one weather related killer in the United States. The hazards are as real for our pets as they are for people. It only takes a few minutes for a pet to succumb to heatstroke when left in a parked car on a hot day. Animals do not sweat the way humans do and humidity interferes with an animal’s ability to rid itself of excess body heat.

“A pet’s body temperature can increase quickly and dramatically if left in a parked car, often within 10 to 15 minutes,” according to Animal Emergency Urgent Care in Palm Harbor.

On a 78 degree day, a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees and in the sun, a scorching 160 degrees. Even on cooler days, when parked in the bright sunlight, the temperatures inside the vehicle can reach the danger zone. Many experts say you should never leave pets in the car if temps are in the 60s or higher and don’t be fooled by thinking that leaving a window slightly down or parking in the shade will guarantee protection.

Signs of heatstroke include:

  • Panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation
  • Excessive salivation
  • Warm, dry skin
  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

If you see signs of heatstroke, immediately take your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Give them water to drink and place a cold towel on their head, neck and chest. Call your veterinarian and have your pet examined.

“Sometimes, after a pet subjected to heat stroke is cooled, he might appear normal for a while, when in fact serious organ damage is happening,” stated AEUC.

Following are some alternative options to leaving your pet in a hot car:

  • Leave your pet home if he can’t get out of the car with you.
  • When vacationing with your pet, check with BringFido.com in advance for restaurants and hotels that allow pets.
  • Bring your own pet food, drinking water and bowls and use rest stops to eat and stretch with your pet.

If you see a pet in a vehicle on a hot day, take the following action:

  • Note the car’s make, model and tag number. If at a store, go inside and ask the manager to page the owner.
  • If unable to contact owner, report to on-site security.
  • Finally, call the police. They may respond faster than animal control and have the authority to enter the vehicle.

Remember, your pet is depending on you – their health and well being are in your hands.

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6 things you should know when traveling with your cat

Most cats prefer the comforts of their own home, but on occasion they are required to travel, such as during a move to a new home or when a lengthy vacation is planned. This adventure does not have to be painful or torturous for you or kitty. All you have to do is prepare in advance and your travel should be smooth sailing.

Before your trip, consider the following tips:


  • The cat carrier – Purchase a cat carrier a few weeks before your trip and allow your cat time to become acquainted and comfortable with it before you leave the house. If you are traveling by plane, check with the airline for the allowable carrier size. This is a crucial first step. If you have trouble getting kitty into the carrier at home, it could be disastrous if you attempt to do this at the airport security or during a rest stop on the road. Put some catnip toys inside, so he will be encouraged to climb in and investigate.
  •  Take short trips – If your cat’s only association with car rides is going to the vet or kennel, he may have a negative association with travel. Before your trip, take kitty on a few short car rides to get him comfortable with the feeling of traveling in the carrier and being outside his comfort zone.
  •  Help kitty relax – Twenty minutes before travel, spray the inside of your cat’s carrier with a calming spray such as Nature’s Miracle No-Stress Cat Calming Spray. The pheromones in the spray create a feeling of safety that will help your cat relax without sedatives.
  • Keep harness on kitty – Be sure to put a cat harness on your cat before placing him in the carrier. Keep the harness on for the duration of the car/plane ride. This will make it much easier to clip on a leash should you have to take him out of the carrier for a water or litter box break, carry him through security at the airport, or just allowing him the opportunity to stretch his legs.
  • Bring calming spray, favorite cat toys and blanket with you – When you arrive at your destination, spray the room with the calming spray, lay out your cat’s favorite blanket and toys and hopefully he will feel relaxed and at home with some familiar objects around him.
  • Do not disturb – If you are staying in a hotel/motel, make sure you put out the “do not disturb” sign each time you leave the room so the cleaning staff does not go in – unaware of your cat’s presence – and either let him out or stress him out.

All of the above products can be purchased at Petco or PetSupermarket in Palm Harbor.

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Can you find the feline at the Panama Canal locks?

As I stood on the balcony of our mini-suite on the Island Princess – watching our cruise ship carefully maneuver through the locks of the Panama Canal – I spotted a furry friend in the distance. Can you find him?

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